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Cruises are usually known for being a great value vacation. Food, multi-port transportation, accommodations, along with shipboard entertainment all wrapped into one packed price – what more could anyone ask for? Well, it’s what you don’t ask for but get is the problem. If you don’t watch your wallet, you could come back a lot poorer, and unhappier than before you left. You’ll want to watch out for the following hidden extras and cruise tricks before you book and board your next ship.
Cruises just love to push shore excursions on its passengers. They lure you in with the promise that their ship won’t leave without you, even if you’re late, except that you’ll be paying the premium price. Your best bet is to exit the ship, and find a tour on the island, where prices are lower and can sometimes be negotiated.
All cruises offer an assortment of entertaining activities that they claim can be enjoyed free of charge. Not so quick though. Yoga classes, wine-tasting courses, and cooking classes are fraught with hidden fees, that anyone is vacation mode is all too easy to agree to. So buyer beware on “free” activities”.
You can expect the cost of wine and beer to be high. That should go without saying. But the price for bottled water, and soda … astronomical. A couple or family can easily incur a bill in the hundreds just on drinks alone, not to mention along with the gratuity that automatically gets attached.
All-you-can-eat buffets and round-the-clock meals are par for the course on a cruise ship. That’s why more and more offer more upscale dining options as well. But beware, many of them charge almost double the price for the very same food you’d find on land.
Sure, you’re going with the family – but it ain’t a vacation until you get some alone time away from the kids. While many cruises have an onboard kids club, childcare service is rarely an all-inclusive service. Some ships charge anywhere from $5 to $10 an hour per child, whereas others, charge so much you’re better off leaving them back at home.
Spa And Salon
Perhaps one of the best parts about a cruise is its salons and spas. But before you get your mani pedi, know that hefty gratuities are almost always baked into the price. So for those frugal cruisers – bring some nail clippers.
The last thing anyone wants to do when they’re away is laundry. And a cruise is a place where you could end up changing several times a day, depending on the activity. Ships do come with laundry and dry cleaning services, but at $3 or more to wash a T-shirt, it could end up costing you a shirt arm or a pant leg.
So you’re looking for something more than a selfie on your next cruise. Ships are full of professional photographers who will lure you in by happily taking your pictures for free. But actually getting your pictures from them … will be ridiculously expensive.
Internet / Cell Phone Use
Can you imagine going days, weeks even, without checking your phone or email? Cruise ships can’t imagine you can either. That’s why they charge $1 or more for just a minute use of their painfully slow satellite service.
Cruise ship employees are famous for being grossly overworked and underpaid. They absolutely rely on their tips to survive. Just to calculate for you how much he or she needs, it’s estimated each person you’ll tip – the waiter and cabin steward for example – requires about $12 per day from you. So when planning your next cruise, make sure to calculate the cost of tips into the final package price.